Where are emails stored on Macs

Max out Apple Mail: This is how you have full control of your e-mails

Despite WhatsApp, Skype and Co., correspondence via email is still one of the most popular ways to communicate with friends, acquaintances and colleagues on a computer, tablet or smartphone. Especially when it comes to writing longer letters, describing complex issues or sending large files and photos, conventional e-mail is still the first choice.

Over the past few years, Apple has continuously developed its mail app with every upgrade from Mac OS X to the current macOS Mojave and has dovetailed it even more closely with the operating system and other programs. Mail remained clear and its basic functions can be used intuitively, but numerous practical new functions are often hidden away. First, we will introduce some of the newer functions of Apple Mail, then we will show you what other options the standard solution offers to simplify and optimize mailing.

New features of Apple Mail

Apple Mail was already equipped with various filters under macOS Sierra to sort e-mails according to different criteria with a click of the mouse. To do this, select the desired mailbox and click on the three small lines above the emails on the right. With the help of the drop-down menu, you can list your e-mails sorted accordingly using six filters, which you can also combine with each other. For example, for all unread messages with attachments, click Unread and Email Only With Attachments.

Since OS X El Capitan, Apple Mail also has a full screen mode. You activate it by clicking - as with other programs - on the green traffic light symbol at the top left in the window bar. In addition to full screen mode, it is also possible to work with tabs. If you open a new Apple Mail window in full screen mode with the command “File” and “New Window”, this will be displayed as a tab. You can switch between the windows by clicking on the tab. Even if you write several e-mails at the same time, you can display them as tabs. To do this, select the “Merge all windows” command in the “Window” menu.

In addition, Apple Mail has mastered the recognition of events and contacts in e-mails since OS X El Capitan. You can then transfer this to the Contacts app or the appointment calendar with a click of the mouse. For example, if you move the mouse pointer over a phone number in the e-mail, it will be outlined. You can transfer them to Apple's Contacts app with a drop-down menu on the right. This works in a similar way with dates, from which you can create an entry in your calendar app with a click of the mouse.

The swipe gestures familiar from the iPhone and iPad are newer. Once you've opened Apple Mail and selected an email, swipe from right to left on the Magic Mouse or trackpad to delete the email. To mark it as unread again, swipe from left to right.

Set up the user interface

If you don't like the standard Apple Mail user interface, you can adapt it to suit your needs. Apple Mail normally has a three-column view: the mailboxes on the left, the e-mails in the middle and the content of the respective e-mails on the right. Alternatively, you can switch to the "classic" view. To do this, open the “Settings” and there the “Representation” tab. Here you mark the entry "Use classic layout". The emails are then listed at the top right. At the bottom right you will find the content of the selected e-mail.

Correctly write emails

  • Write a meaningful subject line.
  • Use a form of salutation and greeting.
  • Be brief and precise.
  • Remain polite and friendly.
  • Structure the email text.
  • Pay attention to spelling.
  • Be careful with “Blind Copy” or “Answer for All”.
  • Read the email again before sending it.

As with most programs for macOS, you can customize the toolbar for Apple Mail. If you click on it with the secondary mouse button, first determine whether the symbols should be labeled or not. Of course, you can only show the label and hide the symbols.

It is even more interesting to change the toolbar yourself. To do this, select the appropriate command in the drop-down menu mentioned. In the window that opens, you'll find a comprehensive list of icons (and functions), all of which you can add. To do this, drag the desired symbol to the position on the toolbar where you want it. For example, to include the "All headers" function in the toolbar, which displays all headers of an email with a click of the mouse, drag the appropriate pictogram onto the toolbar. If you later want to restore the bar that was preconfigured by Apple, simply move the standard set of icons back to the toolbar.

Create more mailboxes

The list of mailboxes in the left column is partly predefined, but can also be adjusted within limits. At the top left you will first find the collective mailbox for all of your e-mail accounts set up on your Mac, such as iCloud, GMail or T-Online. This is followed by the mailboxes for sent e-mails of the corresponding accounts as well as for advertising and the trash.

These include - if set up - "Intelligent Mailboxes" (see below) and the other mailboxes only on the Mac (On my Mac). At the very bottom you can find the synchronized mailboxes of your e-mail accounts, which are managed with the help of IMAP servers (see box).

New mailboxes can only be created on the Mac itself or on IMAP servers. You can create mailboxes for certain tasks, for example for invitations to a birthday party, correspondence with club colleagues or for professional projects. To do this, open the context menu in the left column with the secondary mouse button and select the "New mailbox" command. Here you then decide whether the mailbox will be created on the Mac ("On my Mac") or on an IMAP server. The advantage of a mailbox on an IMAP server is that you can also access the messages there with other computers as well as tablets and smartphones, provided that the associated e-mail account is set up there.

Receive and organize emails

Due to the increasing flood of e-mails, it is necessary to organize and automate e-mail correspondence. Additionally created folders provide a better overview, but manual sorting still takes a lot of time. To ensure that the relevant messages end up in the correct folder straight away, use the corresponding functions of Apple Mail - that is, e-mail rules and “intelligent mailboxes”.

The principle of the Apple Mail e-mail rules works as follows: If an e-mail that corresponds to the rule and specification you have defined reaches your mailbox, it is automatically stored in the appropriate folder. This saves you a lot of work, as the tedious search and correct sorting is no longer necessary.

You define a rule in the "Settings" and the tab of the same name. There you click on the button "Add rule". Enter a brief description, such as “Emails from Apple”. Now select the option “If one of the following conditions is met”. Then activate the entries "From" and "Contains" in the drop-down menus below. Enter “Apple” in the text entry field. In the further drop-down menus under "Perform the following actions", select "Move to the mailbox Apple" in the "Move email" option.

You have now defined a rule that ensures that all e-mails that come from a sender with the string “Apple” in the e-mail address are automatically sent to the appropriate folder. Of course, you can also define rules for further actions by clicking on the plus button on the right.

Filter out spam

"Adaptive" rules are already integrated in Apple Mail, which ensure that unwanted advertising e-mails - i.e. spam - are recognized, colored brown and moved to the "Advertising" folder. With a little help on your part, this rule can, over time, better distinguish between legitimate e-mails and spam. As soon as you mark e-mails that have not yet been recognized as spam as advertising yourself - using the corresponding icon in the toolbar - Mail learns and gradually filters out the suspicious e-mails correctly. Of course, this also works the other way around, by marking emails incorrectly marked as advertising by Apple Mail as "No advertising". To avoid accidentally losing any messages, you should occasionally check the “Advertising” folder and unmark and save e-mails incorrectly marked as spam.

Email logs

POP3: With a POP3 e-mail account, the client - in our case Apple Mail - picks up your messages from a POP server. Internet access is required for this process - and of course also for sending e-mails. Reading and writing new e-mails can also be done offline. In the e-mail program you set whether and when the received messages are deleted on the POP3 server.

IMAP: With IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) accounts, you access the folders and the e-mails they contain online in the e-mail program as if they were on your own Mac. Of course you need an active internet connection to do this. Your e-mails generally remain on the IMAP server - but a copy is usually made on your computer as well. The great advantage of an IMAP account is that you can also access all of your emails from other devices.

Smart mailboxes and more

The e-mail rules show their strength especially in cooperation with the "intelligent mailboxes" from Apple Mail. In an "intelligent mailbox" you can collect all e-mails that originate from a specific sender and that you have sent to this recipient yourself. This means that you always have an overview of all e-mail correspondence with a sender (and recipient). In the workshop we will explain how you can use this practical function and create an intelligent mailbox.

The VIP mailboxes are also part of the intelligent mailboxes. In you Apple Mail collects the e-mails from an important recipient and sender. A VIP mailbox can be set up quickly. Select the desired e-mail and move the mouse pointer over the sender. A small star will now appear to the left of the name. Click on this. This means that the person is identified as a VIP (Very Important Person) and they have their own VIP mailbox in the sidebar under "VIPs".

Coloring them is another way of distinguishing important emails from unimportant ones, or urgent ones from less urgent ones. You can choose from seven colors from red to gray. First select the e-mail you want, click on the “Marking” icon and choose the color you want - for example red for important e-mails. Alternatively, you can also use the context menu. Here, too, you will find the corresponding colors for marking after clicking with the right mouse button on the e-mail. If you would like to remove the mark, select the email again and then click the "Remove mark" icon.

Templates and plug-ins

In the App Store you will find additional e-mail templates for a wide variety of occasions such as holidays, Easter greetings and more. To do this, enter “Apple Mail” or “Stationary” in the App Store search field. A comprehensive selection of extensions is available from Equinux, among others.

There are also plug-ins for Apple Mail from various manufacturers. However, these cannot be found in the App Store and should be installed with care, as the Apple plug-in interface is not fully disclosed and incompatible extensions can cause difficulties. You can find a list of practical plug-ins on our website.

Compose and send emails

Writing and sending e-mails is not difficult and only takes a few clicks of the mouse. However, Apple offers some practical, but somewhat hidden, functions here as well.

If you would like to send an identical e-mail to several recipients, you can simply type the respective recipient into the address field or transfer them from the Contacts app with a click of the mouse. However, each recipient can see to whom you have sent the e-mail. To prevent this, use the "Blind copy" field. Then the other recipients are always hidden.

First, create a new email and enter the first recipient as usual. Then click in the toolbar of the e-mail window on the second icon from the left (three small lines) and use the command "Address field blind copy" to display the corresponding field in which you can then enter the other addressees.

If you want to send photos or other files, you do not have to send them in the highest quality and full resolution, but can adjust the quality and resolution so that the e-mail is not too large. Add the files directly from the Photos app or from a folder by clicking the appropriate icons (paper clip or photo). Now enter the desired “image size” between “small” and “original size” in the drop-down menu at the top right and send the files on their way.

If the files or photos cannot be sent without further ado because the e-mail provider only allows e-mails up to a certain size to be sent, you can also use MailDrop. This redirects the data via iCloud Drive - the online service acts as a buffer. Depending on whether the recipient has a Mac operating system (OS X Yosemite or higher) or not, the file will be sent directly or he will receive a link to download it.

Use templates

With Apple Mail you can write e-mails as “pure text” without any major formatting or as “formatted text” (HTML format). You can change the default setting in the “Settings” of Apple Mail in the “Compose” tab. Furthermore, you can switch between the "pure" and "formatted" text while writing with the key combination (Shift) + (cmd) + (t).

Ready-made templates for invitations, anniversaries or birthdays are also included in Apple Mail. You can find it by clicking on the template symbol on the far right in the toolbar of the email window. Apply the template with a click of the mouse and replace the placeholders with your own text and images if necessary.

Workshop: How to Set Up a Smart Mailbox